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Twitter's top tweets in 2017 touch on a lot of tragedy

The social network's most retweeted messages arose primarily from disasters and politics.

Between hurricanes, white supremacists and politics, it was a pretty dark year for the most popular tweets on Twitter.

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That's the takeaway from Twitter's list of most retweeted tweets for the year, which the company released Tuesday.

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, a veritable who's who of white

Former US President Barack Obama had one of the most retweeted tweets of the year following the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

Pacific Press

It wasn't all doom and gloom -- you can look to Nugget Boy Carter Wilkinson begging Wendy's for free chicken nuggets for a year, which was the most retweeted at 3.6 million, as an example of a sillier moment. But all told, more than half of the top 10 most retweeted had a noticeably somber tone. 

Former President Barack Obama's tweet quoting late South African president Nelson Mandela in response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, was the second most retweeted. It also became the most liked tweet of all time.  

That tweet was followed by one from the Penn State Interfraternity Council pledging 15 cents for every time for every retweet. The group pledged the money to help those affected by flooding in Houston as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which killed more than 70 people in Texas this summer. That post was retweeted more than 1.1 million times.

Detroit Lions punter Sam Martin's Houston-related tweet was the year's ninth most retweeted tweet after Martin promised to he donate six pounds of dog food every time he was retweeted.

But overall, the most retweeted and liked tweets reflected a tough year, with notable Twitter users taking to the social network to share their grief, anguish and support, in some cases getting millions of replies from the service's 330 million monthly users in the process.

One example was pop star Ariana Grande's heartbreaking tweet following a suicide bombing moments after her concert in Manchester, England, in May. She returned to the city to host a benefit concert the next month. Her tweet, expressing her grief over the 22 killed and dozens injured, was the second most liked in 2017.

Meanwhile, the band Linkin Park had the sixth most retweeted tweet with a picture of lead singer Chester Bennington, who committed suicide on July 20. The 10th most retweeted tweet came from Twitter user Seth Joseph, who in August posted a suicide prevention hotline number.

Other top retweets were related to politics. They include two from Obama thanking his supporters during his final days in the White House, and one from basketball star LeBron James calling President Donald Trump a "bum" in defense of Golden State Warriors' star Stephen Curry, who said his NBA championship team would not take part in the ceremonial visit to White House this season.

Obama's tweet saluting his 2008 presidential election opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, who disclosed he has brain cancer in September, was the third most liked tweet of the year.

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